|Mars Needs Props|
|Science-fiction films inspired by 'John Carter'
By Jeff Michael Vice
Chances are, if you've seen a science-fiction movie in the past 90 years, it owes a tremendous debt to author Edgar Rice Burroughs and his series of Red Planet-set stories and novels that featured a transplanted earthling and his new Martian friends and foes.
For example, green men from Mars? Burroughs wrote about them first. Giant apes? Ditto. Laser guns? Ditto. Hovering vehicles and other craft? Ditto. And so on ...
Those things, as well as a lot of other sci-fi standbys, were all featured in Burroughs' books and stories. "A Princess of Mars," the first novel, was published in 1917 (though it appeared in serialized form in 1911). Imitators followed, none quite so successfully or with the same degree of imagination and style.
Bing: More about Taylor Kitsch
Given the enduring qualities of Burroughs' Mars-themed works, it's perplexing as to why it's taken so long for Hollywood to finally make a feature based on them. The comics industry has repeatedly adapted Burroughs, most recently with series that come from both Dynamite Entertainment and Marvel Comics.
Speaking of Marvel, its parent company is Disney, which finally did Burroughs the honors of making his characters into a (hopefully successful) film franchise. "John Carter," an adaptation of "Princess of Mars," stars Taylor Kitsch as the title character, a "Virginia gentleman" (better known as a Civil War veteran) who finds himself stranded on the red planet.
Maybe it's good that it has taken so long to get here. Joining Kitsch are director Andrew Stanton ("WALL-E") and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon ("The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay"), who co-wrote the screenplay. (And his co-stars include Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Bryan Cranston, Ciaran Hinds, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong and others.)
Their adaptation downplays the Mars part of the name, and omits the princess part entirely, using instead a more generic name. But remember, Mars is actually called "Barsoom" in the books and stories.
If the trailers and TV spots can be believed, the live-action, science fiction adventure might just do Burroughs proud. In the meantime, here are 10 movies that got at least a little bit of inspiration from Burroughs and his creations.